Startup Guide Platform

Product design, Marketing

Helping entrepreneurs develop an idea, create, and grow their business.

The Problem

Creating a company is a really long and stressful process. Finding the right problem to fight, the ideal solution, test with potential customers, build, launch, measure, and scale is really hard and time-consuming. With Startup Guide Platform, our mission was to create a guide to create businesses, where entrepreneurs would have access to people (mentors or specific professionals such as accountants and lawyers) in the city where they are based or in any other city, find spaces where they can work from, and have access to document and guides based on stage their business.

My Role

When Sissel (Startup Guide co-founder and CEO) approached me, they already had an MVP and have made some user testing sessions. Our team was built by 3 people. 1 full-stack developer, 1 product manager, and 1 product designer (me). I was responsible for the entire user experience and user interface of the product including going through the user testing findings, do some more market and user research to create the first version of the product personas, create low-fidelity wireframes, test it and design the entire user interface.

Discovery and Roadmap

As I mentioned before, when the team from Startup Guide contacted me, they already had an MVP but they weren’t happy with the feedback from the users. Overall the users approved the need for this kind of product in the market but they already found a lot of problems. When I joined the team, I was responsible for the entire product user experience and user interface.
During a couple of sessions, we went through the materials the team had collected along the way, continuing testing with users, and collecting learnings. Once everybody was on the same page and had a good understanding of the product, we created the first version of the product roadmap.

Startup Guide Platform MVP before I joined the team

User Research

Although we have done user testing sessions, we felt like we didn’t really knew who were we building this tool for so we decided to invest some time doing user research.

Some of our findings during user research

Personas and User Flows

After the research and once the findings were documented, we created our personas collaboratively.

Personas and user flows screenshots

Wireframes

Then we took our findings from the user testing sessions and designed a low fidelity version, the bare bones of the product so we could test it again and iterate based on users feedback.

Small part of the low fidelity wireframes we designed that allowed us to test and iterate faster

User Testing

User testing had a very important role in the process of designing the product. We tried to test the app as much as we could so we could improve and built the best version of the product as soon as possible.

Anna (project manager), Patrick (developer), and me during a remote user testing session

Interface Design

After a couple of iterations on the features and structure of the product, we started working on the interface design. We wanted to create an app that didn’t feel overwhelming by the quantity of information in it but at same time easy to navigate.

Log in and Registration

After a couple of iterations on the features and structure of the product, we started working on the interface design. We wanted to create an app that didn’t feel overwhelming by the quantity of information in it but at same time easy to navigate.

Profiles

Quick profile open from the right side of the screen and allow users to see more information about the entrepreneur, startup, expert, or even space. To see the complete profile, user would need to click on “Open Profile” button.

Entrepreneur profile

My City

My City is the place where user go when they need to find other entrepreneurs, startups, experts, programs, and spaces. Closest city will be selected by default but user can change location from the drop-down menu.

My City
My City with filters expanded

My Idea

My Idea is the where users can keep track of their business progress, create and store documents, and learn at same time. Once the user creates an account, a “Startup Timeline” folder is generated with the main initial startup stages: idea, found, measure, build, product market fit, and grow.
User can take advantage of those resources or he/she can create new folders and documents.

New folder empty state
New document. User can start typing a new document or start with a template.

Guiding Early Stage Entrepreneurs

The idea of the “Startup Timeline” folder that is generated automatically since the moment the user creates an account was one of the features we more tested and iterated.
It was very hard to find a ballance between guiding entrepreneurs and make them feel that they need to strictly follow our suggested process.

New folder empty state
Guidance for early stage entrepreneurs

High-Fidelity Prototype

We tested it again after the first round of interface design, now more focused on the visual aspect of the product.

Guidance for early stage entrepreneurs

Styleguide

Once we defined a good interface style, we started creating the styleguide that allowed us to create a consistent interface and handoff to development.

Lessons Learned

1. Don’t force the user to register if you don’t really need to do it. Now I can compare this product with AirBnB were users can use the product without registration. Once the user finds the value of the content of the app he/she will convert.
2. Don’t ignore the importance of the landing page! The success (or not) of the landing page explaining what the product is very important if registration is mandatory before using the real product.
3. Even good ideas supported by great teams fail. Having a great idea is only the very beggining.

Client Feedback

“He not only creates great interfaces but he also makes sure that we are building the right product and feature for the right people!”

"When we started working with Diogo, he immediately felt like he was part of the team! He always makes sure he understand the problem we are trying to solve and is ready to test multiple solutions before he finds the right one! He not only creates great interfaces but he also makes sure that we are building the right product and feature for the right people!"

Sissel Hansen, Founder & CEO Startup Everywhere / Startup Guide

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